Could Mack be D.C. bound?
Social Media has been abuzz regarding news of the Raiders potentially putting their franchise OLB/DE Khalil Mack on the trading block. Every year around training camp time a blue chip player is released or traded. Although the Redskins might have the best roster on paper in decades, upgrading their defense is an ongoing process.
The question is, does Mack make sense for Washington? It might just be a pipe dream, but let’s go though 3 reasons why Mack makes sense Washington?
In years past, the Redskins lacked a true leader on defense. Six year veteran safety DJ Swearenger has become the unquestioned leader and was named Captain before he even played a series in the Burgundy & Gold last season. Adding a playmaker with a strong personality requires stability, direction and a solid leader in place.
The Redskins defense seems to have found some direction and over the last two drafts, have dedicated multiple high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. Using the Alabama and Virginia Tech pipeline seems to have aided their reclamation process on defense.
The defensive line seems to be set with the additions of NT’s Daron Payne and Tim Settle, in addition to mainstay defensive ends John Allen and Matt Ioannidis.
Having the defensive line as close to solidified as it’s been in years will open up pass rushing lanes for the Redskins OLB. Mack would be counted on to do one thing in Washington and that’s create havoc!
Relationships and Intrigue
When talking about the possible acquisition of Mack, one must review how realistic it would be to acquire such a coveted prospect. New Raiders Head Coach, John Gruden hasn’t been sheepish about his dissatisfaction with Mack skipping all voluntary and mandatory team workouts in an effort to get a new LTD.
According to John Gruden’s NFL Network interview regarding the absence of the former NFL Defensive Player of the year, he had the following to say;
“We weren’t very good last year on defense with Khalil Mack. We didn’t have an interception, I think all year. I don’t know if we intercepted a pass until week 14. We’ve got to get a better pass rush, we’ve got to play better defense period. And we hope Khalil gets here, in the time being, we’ve got plenty of guys who need work.”
This speaks volumes to Gruden’s position on Mack as the face of their franchise with their looming move to Las Vegas on the horizon.
Ignoring the relationship between brothers John and Jay Gruden would be a paramount mistake. Jay and the Redskins could have the inside track, if the price is right. Assuming the Raiders will trade him away from the AFC to an NFC team, Washington’s odds would be increased.
In all likelihood, the asking price will start with a 2019 1st and 3rd round selections, with other players possibly included in the deal.
Of course most of the league will be in on the Mack sweepstakes if he’s truly on the trade block, so competition will be stiff.
At 6’5, 265lb. the younger and potentially cheaper Preston Smith might fit into the box that John Gruden is looking for. I’d assume any trade with Oakland would require an DE/OLB in the trade package.
Having Jay Gruden reportedly involved in roster discussions should only help the possibility of acquiring Mack. On the flip side, the eldest Gruden could dissuade his brother from pitching the OLB to his constituents.
Sometimes relationships play a bigger role than the actual equity offered in a trade. It’s important to remember current Redskins President, Bruce Allen was the General Manager in Tampa Bay while John Gruden was the Head Coach from 2004-2008.
Current Redskins Vice President, Doug Williams also worked with the two in Tamp Bay from 2004-2008. Heres to hoping that these four old buddies will get together over a beer, relive some old memories and strike a deal.
Mack would also have to be extended to the tune of $20 million a year. This could go against the cheaper options and youth movement that Allen has employed.
The intrigue should be there for Washington, considering how porous their defense has been over the years. With Jay, Bruce and Doug they certainly have the brass in place to make the deal a reality.
The Defense Currently In Place
Pairing Mack with ultra-consistent Ryan Kerrigan could produce huge dividends for Washington’s pass rush. Current Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith is in the final year of his rookie deal and reports are that a LTD has yet to be discussed. As previously mentioned,
Preston’s size and his potential asking price ($10-$13 mil a year) could intrigue John Gruden and be a key in any potential trade.
This Redskins roster is being built for long term success. The current starting lineup of John Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Kerrigan with Anthony Lanier and Tim Settle as the reserves is tailor-made for Mack as a plug-and-play for Smith.
It has been reported that the new Raiders Head Coach is the shot caller over current Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. Gruden has made it clear from the start that no individual is bigger than the team. When he arrived in Oakland, his first courses of action was to release outspoken punter Marquette King.
In the past, the Redskins have overspent and overvalued aging veterans. The Skins new approach of building through the draft, resigning their own and finding reasonably priced free agents has been a good formula.
Adding a game changer in Khalil Mack morphs this current Redskins team into a playoff contender, who could upset the Vegas sharks. As Skins fans we have to wait and see how the process plays out, but day dreaming of Mack and Kerrigan meeting at the quarterback gives me goosebumps!
Thanks for checking out another Burgundy and Gold Report. With the Redskins first preseason matchup this week, stay tuned for more news and player analysis.
By Adam Aniba